I'm becoming quite the commentator; twice in two weeks. But there were some thoughts that occurred over all when I chose the books this week.
I have some strong thoughts on subjects, and I think some things should be examined. For instance we want children to read, but too often we HURRY through our books for children. This will affect my book greatly coming up (and Nana's Gift to a lesser extent). If one hurries through the book, it's a stumbly tumbly effort more frustrating than most. I know because I often as other people to read my work to me, so I can hear it. Part of it is they are trying to "get through" it. But I've noticed adults doing this with children. Often times instead of engaging the story, they read through, rather pedantically, when the children are less interested or not invested, instead of becoming more connected to the story and characters, more often than not, people will hurry through or put the book aside. This is a message.
I LOVE the sounds of words, and try to write like music (wish I spoke Welsh, they do it naturally!). I do this deliberately, and hope when people (how's that for optimism) they take the time to savor the sounds, the rhythms, the stories, the characters, the events, the EXPERIENCE. I guarantee if you do, your audience will as well. Even if they audience is just you, but ESPECIALLY if it's a child.
We have got used to messaging. The popular message is school is stupid, a necessary evil, parents are stupid or incompetent. Smart people are geeks (and socially inept) and not as desirable. When you think of a lot of the things you value the very people who are denigrated are the ones who grow up to be the creative people. And just because you are one thing does not mean you cannot be another. We have lots of messages to kids, I personally think should be examined more closely, especially if they are receiving it via books or movies or social media. What is the story we tell them, and ourselves?
For so many education is a way out of poverty and provides opportunities. For the poor often, especially, and to get that education takes perserverance. I plan on another post in the future more in depth about this, but suffice it to say it was brought home when I found my grandmother on my mother's side had only completed sixth grade. Much of who she was (and I had a hard time with) made sense with that bit and another bit of information. The difference between my grandfather (on my father's side) who had similar circumstances and her, he read. He may have stopped his formal education, but he never stopped educating himself. I have to internalize and think on this more. I do believe her being a woman and the way we perceived education and grrls had something to do with it. But some of it was personality, no doubt.
So this week's batch of books are about SOMETHING. They are more educational. Some are for a bit of an older audience, who would probably want to sit down and savor the books themselves.
One book reminded me of my father who had lost his little finger in a cider press as a small child. Others made me think of my youth when I was excited to "know stuff". Always have done with that. I would much rather KNOW than not know, and it's only in fairly recent years, I've come to embrace the process of learning to know. Probably with the realization that KNOWING isn't an end product or even a destination, because it's one of the few moving goal posts I'm okay with.
I met a woman yesterday who will be heading up the local homeschoolers. I would easily recommend these books to her group of kids as well as to some adults, and thoroughly enjoyed this week's batch of books. Next week I will start mixing in the older books with the new books I've been reviewing, before the holiday books hit. I hope people enjoy them as much as I have, and find the reviews useful. Reading the books has subtly impacted how I'm approaching my work, and I readily urge people who are actively working in a genre to start this practice of read and review as well.